"You know that girl who 'has it all'—perfect job, relationship, body? No, you don't, because she doesn't exist." - Debora L. Spar
Women in DC talk a lot about having it all.
We're constantly measuring ourselves against other successful women—fixed marks on a scale of where we should be.
We should be married with children and on our way to the C Suite—and if we aren't, if we've found some alternate version of what success and happiness looks like, we're probably receiving a heaping measure of side-eye and judgment.
With the best of intentions, our mothers told us not to go to college for our MRS degrees and to put our careers before men.
Where has that landed us?
Check all that apply:
- Paying off law school student loan debt in a career that doesn't require a JD (this doesn't apply to me thank God, but it does for many of my friends), wishing we could just... be moms who make jam.
- Single in our late 20s, staring at toddlers in strollers like they're roadrunner and we're Wile E. Coyote.
- Passively wanting to get married but looking at a landscape of Peter Pans and beta males like we'd rather spend the rest of our lives alone with a golden retriever in a cabin in Wyoming thank-you-very-much (err... did I just get a little too specific?).
- Constantly wondering if we're on the right trajectory despite how often we take an audit of our lives and see that we're richly blessed and should relax and take pride in our accomplishments.
Sound about right?
You aren't alone.
As Debora put it, "feminism was meant to remove a fixed set of expectations; instead, we now interpret it as a route to personal perfection. Because we can do anything, we feel as if we have to do everything."
But my idea of perfection has totally changed.
As I've said before—there is nothing quite like almost getting exactly what you think you want to make you realize it's nothing like what you actually want.
Perfection is a week chock full of moments with friends, sweaty nights at the gym with uplifting people, a slow stroll through Eastern Market on Sunday, and finding exactly what I want in my size in the sale section at Lululemon.
Perfection is being a responsible, kale-eating adult 99% of the time but still being comfortable enough in myself to put on a short dress and act like a moron in Georgetown before drunk-eating cheese fries at 3:00 a.m.
Perfection is the daily choice to stop comparing myself to other people and the gall to be myself.
I used to have the roadmap—the bucket list and the framework of how my life would go.
And years ago I threw it away—because it was all at once so hysterically limiting and so completely different from where I decided I want to go.
Happiness for me isn't the C Suite—and it never will be. And that doesn't make me lazy—that doesn't make me an underachiever.
It just means I've made career choices that will put me in a position to one day work from home... hopefully while I make my own jam and raise babies.
And always have enough in the bank to fly to the islands if everything else falls apart.